Honest Piety

Piety without stoking the flames of pride Many years ago I remember attending a Liturgy at a parish church and noticing a young man standing near the iconostasis, while making profound bows, and frequent, almost exaggerated signs of the cross. My first thought was that he must be a newly baptized Orthodox Christian. After embracing Orthodoxy, many people fall into…

Noetic Faculty

The energy of the mind inside the heart In the patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness. This self-awareness is the energy of the mind inside the heart, something the holy fathers referred to as our “noetic faculty”. There is an important distinction that must be noted concerning the difference between the Western and Eastern understanding of…

Guilt

We must not allow guilt to destroy us The conscience is that gift God has bestowed upon us that tells us when we have sinned against Him, and against our neighbor. The conscience calls us to turn from our sin, and seek to change the patterns of behavior that have caused us to sin in the beginning. This tug by…

Bad Thoughts

Holding bad thoughts negates everything good The Fathers, such as Saint Paisius of Mount Athos, teach us that when we hold bad thoughts about anyone, or nurture a grudge against another, we negate everything good that can come from keeping vigil, or fasting. Ascetic discipline is useless if we do not expel bad thoughts against another. One good thought is…

Cloud of Witnesses

The saints are alive in Christ Jesus Vigil lights are placed before the icons of the saints, according to Saint Symeon the New Theologian, as a way of showing that without the Light, Who is Christ, the saints are nothing. It is only as the light of Christ shines on them that they become alive and resplendent. The saints show…

Racism

Racial discrimination has no place in the life of a Christian It is important to understand that genetically, all humans are of but one race. Indians, Arabs, Jews, Caucasians, Africans, and Asians, are not different races, but rather, different ethnicities of the human race. God created all humans with the same physical characteristics, with only minor variations. Furthermore, He created…

How to Forgive

We must put aside all resentment “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.” (1 Peter 3:9) The decision to forgive another person a wrong done to us begins when we decide…

Coming Home

Finding one’s true home in the Orthodox Church The one thing I have learned since my entrance into Orthodoxy is that this is the preserved Church that Christ founded, and the very Church whose first bishops were the apostles themselves. Preserved once and for all, it is neither Eastern nor Western, but simply the Church of Christ on this earth. I…

Privilege as Original Sin

Repentance and redemption without forgiveness “White privilege” is similar to the doctrine of original sin, but without the benefit of repentance and redemption. White original sin is the image of modern moral exactness that leaves little room for personal accountability. This philosophical approach does not allow for personal advancement starting with accountability, but rather forces people into a collective identity…

Struggling to Pray

When prayer becomes emotionally dry When we find ourselves struggling with prayer, and feel that it has become dry and lifeless, we are sometimes tempted to stop praying. When our prayer has become a struggle, it is good to remember that God knows our needs, and even knows what we want to say when we don’t seem to know. This…

Avoid Deceitfulness

We must strive to always be truthful In our daily encounters with our spouses, family, friends, and coworkers, we must always strive to be truthful. Deceitfulness must never be allowed to be a part of our life, for deceitfulness in relationships with others will always translate into being untruthful with God. Our relationships with others and our relationship with God…

The New Holocaust

We must recognize infanticide and abortion for the evil that it is “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 Washington, Oregon, New York, and California, allow for the killing of newborn infants. Calling it late term abortion, it…